The Left is angry that -- according to the LA Times -- the White House will prepare the September 15 report to Congress on progress in Iraq:
The Los Angeles Times reports that Gen. David Petraeus’ upcoming Sept. 15 report on Iraq will be authored by the White House:First let's note the LATimes' editorial 'despite.' Is there some inherent inconsistency in saying that report would 'reflect evaluations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker,' and that it would be written by the White House? Obviously not. Simply the LATimes trying to create a contradiction in administration statements where there is none.Despite Bush’s repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, administration officials said it would actually be written by the White House, with inputs from officials throughout the government.In other words, the Sept. 15 report promises to be much like the July mid-term report which purported to show “satisfactory performance on 8 of the 18 benchmarks.” A closer look into those claims revealed that the progress was purely White House spin. Yet, the report accomplished its primary objective of producing media reports which suggested that the overall picture in Iraq was “mixed.”
The White House has repeatedly employed Petraeus as a PR flack, using him to promote failing Iraq policies and the war czar nomination.
It's also worth looking at exactly what Congress has required for September 15. I've written on it before. Here's what Congress passed, and the President signed:
(A) The President shall submit an initial report, in classified and unclassified format, to the Congress, not later than July 15, 2007, assessing the status of each of the specific benchmarks established above, and declaring, in his judgment, whether satisfactory progress toward meeting these benchmarks is, or is not, being achieved.Is there any lack of clarity as to whom Congress tasked to prepare and submit the report? Anyone surprised that the report is being prepared by the White House, with the input of appropriate officials in Iraq and throughout the Executive Branch?
(B) The President, having consulted with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Commander, Multi-National Forces Iraq, the United States Ambassador to Iraq, and the Commander of U.S. Central Command, will prepare the report and submit the report to Congress.
(C) If the President’s assessment of any of the specific benchmarks established above is unsatisfactory, the President shall include in that report a description of such revisions to the political, economic, regional, and military components of the strategy, as announced by the President on January 10, 2007. In addition, the President shall include in the report, the advisability of implementing such aspects of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, as he deems appropriate.
(D) The President shall submit a second report to the Congress, not later than September 15, 2007, following the same procedures and criteria outlined above.
Further, does anyone doubt that IF Bush left responsibility for the report with Petraeus and Crocker, the same critics on the Left would not be blaming him for passing the buck? They'd charge him with trying to leave Petraeus and Crocker twisting in the wind, and say that he needs to take ownership of the war.
Fact is, they'll criticize him no matter who prepares the report, and no matter what the report says. Like the old saying goes, if he walks on water they'll mock him for being unable to swim.